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Catania, Sicily, Italy

37°29.56′N, 15°5.78′E Chart icon.png
Mount Etna brooding over Catania

Catania is Sicily’s second largest city after Palermo. Its turbulent history includes destruction by earthquake in 1169 and 1693 and partial devastation by volcanic eruptions from Mount Etna 30 kilometres to the north, the most violent occurring in 1669. Originally a Greek city, founded in the 8th century BC, Catania was fought over by Greeks and Carthaginians until yielding to the Romans during the First Punic War in 263 BC. During succeeding centuries the city fell under the power of Vandals, Ostrogoths, Byzantines and Saracens until the arrival of the Normans in 1072. Perhaps the city’s high point was in the 14th century, when under the control of the Kingdom of Aragon in Spain it became the seat of royal power. The first university on the island was founded here in 1434. The legacy of the city’s 500 year history was virtually all swept away in the earthquake and subsequent eruption of 1693 and Catania’s numerous Baroque buildings and churches date from the rebuilding that followed. The city was badly damaged by Allied bombing during World War II and most of the grimy concrete buildings, especially around the port area, were the result of post-war reconstruction. Today, the city’s attractions include a number of Roman remains that miraculously survived Catania’s succession of natural disasters and some magnificent Baroque churches as well as a fine opera house, the Teatro Bellini (named after the composer, who was born here). The harbour and its four yacht clubs provide a good base for exploring Catania’s attractions and for a trip to the must-see site of Mount Etna.


1941 - Capo Passero to Capo Colonne
1018 - Approach to Stretto Messina


Prevailing winds on the east coast of Sicily are NE during the summer. During spring and winter winds are often from SE and W in addition to NE. Strong SE winds can make several of the harbours along this coast uncomfortable and even untenable. In such circumstances, Catania is a welcome port of refuge, although it is subject to considerable swell in these conditions, especially in the outer harbour.

Sources for weather forecasts:

  • There is a continuous (computerised voice) weather forecast on VHF 68 - first in Italian and then followed with an English translation
  • The same forecast is given in Italian and English on VHF coastal stations following a notification on channel 16
  • Navtex weather forecasts are broadcast from stations at Roma, Cagliari (Sardinia) and Augusta (Sicily)


Popular passages/routes, timing, etc.




Port Authority

Phone: +39 095 535888 / 536031
Address: Via Dusmet

Harbour Office

Phone: +39 095 531667
Fax: +39 095 533962
Address: Via Dusmet


Entrance is straightforward in most conditions, although strong SE and E winds cause a confused swell at the entrance


Catania is a port of entry to Italy.

Please submit details about facilities for checking-in, location of immigration & customs, etc.


Once inside the breakwater, a yacht has four mooring options. The Mediterranea Yacht Club is immediately to starboard at the entrance to the harbour; the Circulo Nautico NIC is half a mile further on to starboard at the head of the Porto Nuovo (the outer basin); the Diporto Nautico Etnea and Club Nautico Catania are to the west of the large central mole in the Porto Vecchio (inner harbour). All marinas have laid moorings with water and electricity and some have showers and toilets. Mediterranea Yacht Club has a fuel station. Both Mediterranea Yacht Club and Circulo Nautico NIC suffer from swell in strong SE winds.

Marinas & Yacht Clubs



Yacht Repairs and Services

Marine Stores

Submit addresses and contact details of marine related businesses that are of interest to cruisers.


Fuel, Water, & Electricity

Fuel station at Mediterranea Yachting Club. Water and electricity at all yacht clubs.

Things to do Ashore


The (relatively) old centre of Catania is easy to walk around, especially along the Via Etnea, and most of the lovely Baroque buildings are to be found here. The area has been part of a World Heritage Site since 2002. The 17th century ‘U Liotru’ elephant fountain in Piazza Duomo consists of an ancient elephant carved from volcanic tufa surmounted by an obelisk from Egypt. The nearby Norman cathedral is also worth a visit. Near the centre is the brooding bulk of the mediaeval 13th century Castello Ursino, which contains a museum. While in the city, you may be lucky enough to see an example of the cirneco, an unusual and very pretty breed of Etna hunting dog, for which the region is famous. An unforgettable excursion from Catania is the trip up Mount Etna, Sicily’s famous 3323 metre high active volcano. Buses leave daily around 0830 for the Rifugio Sapienza on the south slopes, from where 4-wheel drive transport takes you up to the summit. You can also walk up if fit and the weather is suitable (the summit is chilly even in mid-summer).

Grocery & Supply Stores

Excellent shopping in the town, including several supermarkets.


Good fish restaurants around the harbour. Others in the town.




Motorbike & Car Rentals

Garbage Disposal

Bins at all the marinas.


  • Catania airport has flights to most European destinations. Buses leave every half hour from the bus station and take 20 minutes.
  • Frequent buses to Taormina and Syracusa. Long-distance buses to Rome and Naples.
  • Trains to Palermo, Messina and onwards to Rome and Naples.


Contact details of "Cruiser's Friends" that can be contacted for local information or assistance.


List links to discussion threads on partnering forums. (see link for requirements)


References & Publications

See Italy.


We welcome users' contributions to the Wiki. Please click on Comments to view other users' comments, add your own personal experiences or recommend any changes to this page following your visit.

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Names: Lighthouse, Athene of Lymington

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